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Oakland Marathon Recap: Wild Joy and a Crash March 28, 2010

I’m lying on my bed. My stomach is in some kind of turmoil. I still don’t feel so good physically. But emotionally I feel great! We did it! *I* did it!

I don’t have energy to do anything but lie here so I’m just gonna do that; lie here and write out my marathon recap. Are ya ready for all the details? (if not, just skip this post!) (AT THIS POINT I STOPPED BLOGGING FOR SEVERAL HOURS)

Picking up the packet and chip at the Marathon Expo was big fun yesterday. It was great to meet up with the other penguins and feel all the buzzy excitement about the event. After the Expo I had about a million errands to run in preparation for my trip to Costa Rica! tomorrow!!! (I honestly can’t even fathom this right now) I came home, had a pasta dinner (carbo loading you know, but with Dreamfields low-glycemic linguine), then tried to go to bed. I was soooooo unsleepy and did not sleep until after midnight. :-(

Woke up at 6:30 by text from another penguin who was already at the starting line. I knew I had a looooong way to go. I was hoping to get down to cheer on my teammates in leg 1 and 2, but there were a lot of road closures going on. I made it to leg 2, and was able to cheer/meet up with/run with my two great pals Mary (Team Penguin) & Lisa Marie (Team Strong Mix). That made me so happy, to be alongside them for a block or two, offer up words of encouragement and love.  

OK then you’ll laugh. I still had a bunch of time before my own leg, so I asked my dear spouse to drive me home for a minute. I wanted to use my own bathroom. There was time. I’m kind of a wimp that way.  Then we headed down to the BART station so I could take the train to my relay start point. At this point it was about 10am and I felt like I’d been up and READY forever.

I got down to the relay point and it was so exciting. I felt great. I spent a bunch of time pacing around to warm up and before I knew it, Penguin #1 (Mary) was leaping out of nowhere to give me a hug, and then Penguin #3 (Michael-David) showed up around the corner and it was time to give him my BART card and get the ankle strap thingie with the chip (or so we thought, more on that later). He strapped  it on my ankle and I just took off. I was so high!

The first part of the run made me so happy. I had run this stretch many times before and I love it. A bunch of folks were out in lawn chairs, cheering us on and saying encouraging stuff. I felt fabulous. But after the first mile I got a little surprised because the route changed on me. We ran straight past the point where I usually turn off. This made me kind of nervous and concerned because suddenly I had NO IDEA where we were going, it was all unfamiliar, and worst, there were hardly ANY spectators/cheering people on this part. It just felt lonely and confusing.

Luckily, that only lasted a mile or so and I was back on familiar turf. At around mile 22 (aka MY mile 3, since I started at 19) I was feeling great. And I should remind myself that that was the length (almost) of my regular 5k. I felt so happy. We came into sight of the lake. The lake was full of even MORE people and I did good up until right past mile 23. Then I started feeling kind of sick to my stomach (I should’ve known, first sign of dehydration!). I had a few gulps of water at the water station but didn’t want too much because I was worried I’d throw up.

I thought, maybe this is the time for some Gu. I ripped open the vanilla Gu. OMG. I have not had anything that intensely sweet in… over a year. (it’s like sucking down cake frosting from a tube) I was like, oh NOOOOO I need water! I need it bad! But the water station was what felt like a lonng way away. I could not deal with this thick frosting feeling in my mouth. But I felt like I needed it.

Got to a water station around mile 24. Gulped a big cup of water. Started praying I’d feel better. I didn’t. Then my hands started tingling and actually going numb. OK, I started freaking. And started walking. I knew I had 2 miles left and I didn’t want to be coming in on a stretcher. So I powerwalked about 5 minutes and when I started feeling a bit better, I took a run, starting around 25. But I never felt super great after that point. I kept trying to gauge it. I wanted to have a strong finish for SURE, so I was trying to ration my energy.

At about a mile from the finish, I saw Penguin 1 (Kathy) who had been searching for me all over the lake!! (great runner, good Catholic, she was trying to attend a MASS in between her leg and mine!) This was the last uphill. I said to her, y’know, I’m not doing so hot. I ran a bit then said I have to walk. Then Penguin 2 (Mary) popped up! And finally Penguin 3! They were bringing me in!!!! This would’ve made me so emotional but at that point I realized I was having trouble breathing. My lungs were just seizing up, I was wheezing and I got a little panicky. Luckily (and miraculously?) Mary HAPPENED to have an inhaler in her pocket! so I used that. But I was feeling not so hot. So much for my strong finish. Then we rounded the bend and I knew it was like 3 blocks away. I gathered up all the adrenaline inside and sprinted in to the Finish. Then kinda collapsed.

One of the volunteer dudes gave us some bad news right after the finish. He told us that what we THOUGHT had been the race timing chip was actually the receipt, or the “other” part of the band. Which was INCREDIBLY irritating, since we had asked a race volunteer at the Expo to attach the chip to the ankle strap because we were SO worried about getting it wrong somehow. But voila, SHE got it wrong, and as a result, we had no split times. Which was really maddening, and not cool. Boo on race volunteers who Don’t Know What They’re Doing.

We blasted through the little post-race chute, got our medals (YAY), got our photos taken (YAY). I was like, I’m feeling kinda bad. I’m feeling kinda shaky. I had some PowerAde and a section of an orange, but I still did not feel so hot. I managed to get excited for the photo opps because yeah it felt so great to FINISH the thing, but I was aware underneath it all that I really, really wanted to get home, and like ASAP.

Michael-David had a sausage sandwich that looked really good at first but every time he offered me a bite my stomach got really alarmed. Part of me was like, “I need PROTEIN!” but then I couldn’t face it. So we went home.

Over the course of the next five hours, I just felt worse. And worse. And worse. And I wasn’t eating or drinking because I felt incredibly nauseated, my stomach was in absolute turmoil. I had started writing this recap but after about the first few paragraphs I couldn’t even do that. I tried to sleep. But I was in pain, and feeling shaky and cold and crazy.

FINALLY after many hours of this my husband brought me some chicken soup and said I had to try to eat it, that the salt would help restore me. I choked a bit down and actually it did help me feel better, a lot better. I went into the bathroom and weighed myself and saw that I had lost 5 lbs since that morning. I knew then that my problem really was all about dehydration.

I felt really stupid. I felt like I had not taken good care of myself or prepared well. I ate my breakfast (whole wheat Eng muffin with peanut butter, and coffee, yeah duh) at 7am. And then had nothing to eat or drink until that Gu at mile 23. In retrospect, yeah, that was super poor planning on my part. But every time I’d approached any station, I was like, “I don’t want to have to stop and pee!” or “I’m not hungry,” or whatever, so I kept passing it all up. Until it was too late.

I don’t know what was up with the asthma except that the allergies are super bad around here and I think with all the other stress, my lungs just freaked out. THAT was scary.

SO now it’s 8pm, I am just now starting to feel like maybe I’ll live. My blood glucose is 172. Which sucks.  I feel chagrined and embarrassed. I’m sad that I didn’t prepare well and thus did not have the great experience I wanted (all the way through). I’m mad that it’s 8pm and I have to leave for Costa Rica in 12 hours and I am NOT READY!

But on the other hand, it was a beautiful experience. I loved the community, the being out in my great city, the energy. I loved that I had zero orthopedic problems the whole time (foot/leg/hip/back). I loved a lot about it. But I’m just feeling sorta humbled now, and really tired. I’m really glad I did it, and so happy I finished, and I do feel proud.  Thanks everyone, for the fantastic support all along the way.

 

Team Penguin is Ready March 27, 2010

Words cannot even describe how excited I am. No matter what happens tomorrow, I think it’s gonna be a beautiful day.

 

Cue up the Rocky Music February 10, 2010

It’s so weird. Some days I feel like I can barely drag myself around the block. Other days… well, wooh!

I think I felt extra motivated after the half marathon 5k was over, and ready to turn to a new page, which is the marathon relay coming up at the end of March. I want to be ready. I want to be a strong contributor to my team.

So yesterday I drove down to the start of my relay leg. This is new for me, to actually be able to train ON the route of a running race. It was kind of cool. I parked my car at the intersection and already I could imagine the thousands of people who will be there too. My heart started pounding. I got all gadgeted up: first I put on my Bodybugg, which has been out of commission for a while because I couldn’t find my armband. Then I set my iPhone to the couch-to-10k app, week 5, day 1. This same workout totally killed me last week. It is supposed to be 70  minutes total, and I pooped out after 30, and felt totally defeated. Back in the saddle.

At first, my feet and ankle were really bothering me and I was worried. I was wearing new running shoes, which I feel like I really need. The soles of my old ones were SHOT and I think it’s not healthy to run on them because they’re all uneven. I had on my ankle brace. Something about the lacing had been messed up at the 5k and the top of my foot was really, really sore. But whatever. I had to do it.

There’s something very Pavlovian and addictive about the “couch-to” apps. They play some loud tone and a voice says, WALK NOW or RUN NOW. And do whatever it commands. I started with a 5 minute warmup. As I was walking (fast) I noticed what a beautiful route it is. It’s a wide, flat road called the Mandela Parkway. Which I love. There were some plum blossom trees already blooming, and some awesome graffiti art. (I didn’t take pics while running, I stopped and took them when I did the mileage with my car later) It made me so happy that I chose this leg of the marathon. It feels perfect for me.

It’s a really industrial, warehousey kind of neighborhood at first; a lot of trucks and industry. And you know what was amazing, I got like half a dozen thumbs-up and people waving at me. They seemed so happy to see me out there running. Did they know I was doing a marathon training, and that the marathon is going to be coming through this neighborhood? I don’t know. At any rate I was feeling very Rockyesque.

After about 15 minutes my feet stopped hurting. Everything just loosened up, got warm and lubed up and felt great. I got into a real groove. The intervals felt great: 2:30 run, then 2:30 walk, back and forth, 20 times. Every time I started feeling a little tired, cardio wise, the voice would say WALK NOW and I was so happy. Then every time my bones started hurting, it would say RUN NOW and I’d be happy all over again. It actually felt a lot better to run than to walk; it took pressure off my feet and just felt… relaxing. (I CAN’T BELIEVE I JUST WROTE THAT)

As I ran, I kept imagining doing this with hundreds/thousands of other people, and several times I got teared up. After a while I realized that I was in a completely different part of town. I could not believe I’d run that far. When the Voice told me I was “halfway” I pulled a U-turn and started heading back to my car. I couldn’t believe how far I’d gone.

My return trip took two minutes less than the trip out. Which was great. I got to my car and I felt like a million bucks. Then I got in and drove the route again to see my distance (which C210K doesn’t measure, and I didn’t want to run C210K AND Runkeeper simultaneously). My halfway point was at 2.9 miles. Which means… I ran 5.8 miles of intervals! In 70 68 minutes!!!!

I was a damn happy puppy after that. And it made me feel like, it IS going to be possible, I AM going to do this, and it’s gonna be great.

Here’s some pics along the way. Look at this cool metal person sculpture. It’s enormous, and there are two other half-people on the other side of the road. Everything just made me so happy. It was one of those great, great, great runs. I feel so lucky.

 

2010: A Marathon year January 10, 2010

I’ve signed up for two marathons in the next couple of months! Woot! Before you get all awed and excited, let me be clear. I am NOT GOING TO RUN A FULL MARATHON. My body is not ready for that, my mind is not ready, and my schedule does not have the time to train for such an endeavor. However, I plan to:

* Complete (in some combination of locomotion, but mostly walking) a half-marathon in San Francisco on February 7th.
* RUN as part of a 4-person relay team for the Oakland Marathon (historical event! first marathon in Oaktown in 25 yrs!!!) on March 28th. I just signed us up. Go, Team Penguin! We’ll waddle our way to the finish!!

I am excited about these events. Really excited. This morning I took a beautiful mini-run (2 miles) on the beach where we are staying. I felt so exhilarated and happy. Those two miles were slow, but easy, loping. I probably averaged about a 12 minute mile. Which is quite penguinesque. But I wasn’t trying to run fast or anything, I just wanted to see if I could run. I am hoping I can triple that for the relay in a few months.

One thing I am a little nervous about is that they state that no “musical devices” are allowed. Um. I am not sure I can run without one. In fact I am pretty sure I don’t even want to try. I am already scheming how I can put a little iPod shuffle in my hair and hide it. I NEED MY MUSIC: to keep my pace, and to keep the sound of my own heavy breathing out of my ears. There’s nothing that freaks me out more than the sound of my own labored breath.

I DID complete a full marathon back in 2000, the Country Music Marathon in Nashville Tennessee. I trained with Team in Training and had great fun. What I remember back then, though, is that I was almost 20 lbs heavier than I am now, and how I thought that in order to train, I need to EAT A LOT. Of pasta (carbo loading anyone) and Steak. Ha ha ha ha. I have photos of myself in my hotel room, porking out on creme brulee, spare ribs, Krispy Kreme donuts. Wow. I probably put on 5 lbs during the months I was training. Interesting, huh? I trained as a walker and did pretty well, but I never did anything BUT walk. Not any weight training or anything, except… lots of walking.

Things feel so different now! I’m excited for these marathons. I have to talk myself down from feeling somehow “less than” because I haven’t committed to running the full length. It’s just not in the cards for me right now, or rather, I’m not CHOOSING those cards. I don’t think I have anything to prove. I am just excited to participate in these two events in ways that feel healthy and good for me.

Ah, the wisdom of the aged. (snicker)

 

 
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